Bringing Mysterious Currencies Into the Open

Shimon Mazor '16; Asaf Meir '14; and Chen Arad '15, Heller MA/MBA'17
Solidus Labs
Shimon Mazor '16; Asaf Meir '14; and Chen Arad '15, Heller MA/MBA'17

You’ve probably heard of bitcoin. But you may not know that bitcoin is only a small segment of an expanding class of cryptoassets, poised to transform finance. And unregulated cryptocurrencies, perhaps not surprisingly, are rife with manipulation and fraud.

In 2017, to bring transparency, accountability and regulatory compliance to the Wild West of cryptoassets, Asaf Meir ’14 co-founded Solidus Labs. The New York City-based company soon added two more Brandeis alums to its leadership team: Shimon Mazor ’16 is head of product development, and Chen Arad ’15, Heller MA/MBA’17, serves as chief marketing officer.

Solidus implements trade surveillance technology that reduces the risk and increases the transparency of digital asset trading. “The system we developed helps our clients — financial-service providers like broker-dealers or exchanges — detect manipulation in their system, and address it to protect their clients and comply with regulation,” Mazor says.

Cryptoassets are traded using a technology called the blockchain, essentially a database maintained by a network made secure through cryptography. “It’s revolutionary because it’s an extremely efficient, secure, transparent and immutable way of recording verifiable transactions without a central authority like a bank, eliminating the need for trust between parties,” says Mazor, who, like Meir, was once a financial technology engineer at Goldman Sachs.

“Wall Street is eyeing blockchain-based assets and their potential to make investments accessible, injecting more liquidity into markets that were traditionally out of reach for most,” Meir says.

To fulfill that promise, however, the cryptoasset industry needs to overcome two interconnected hurdles — ensuring compliance and preventing market manipulation. That’s where Solidus, whose work has been featured in Forbes, the Financial Times and Reuters, steps in. “Many people are frustrated by the lack of regulation,” Arad says. “Instead of being frustrated, we tell our clients what they can do right now, which is institute strong trade surveillance standards to improve safety and demonstrate due diligence.”

Mazor says Brandeis nurtured the trio’s entrepreneurial spirit. As a student, Meir founded IntuMusic, a startup that sought to revolutionize the relationship between music and movement. Mazor worked with micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya. And Arad co-founded bVIEW, which sought to improve discourse around Israel on college campuses.

A former journalist, Arad draws a direct line from Solidus’ work to increase transparency and combat fraud to the ideas of the university’s namesake. “It’s just like Justice Louis Brandeis said,” he explains. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

— Brian Klotz